Celebrate in safety and have a wonderful Platinum Jubilee

Platinum Jubilee congratulations

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service wishes people a wonderful Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, but is urging people to consider fire and outdoor safety as they plan their celebrations for this unique long weekend (2-5 June).

This is especially important following a number of fires in open country and woodland over the past few days, given that more warm and sunny weather is expected over the long weekend.

With such a busy period ahead of us, and people celebrating in a wide variety of ways, HWFRS is asking people to take note above all of the following safety advice

  • Avoid lighting open fires in the countryside.
  • Keep young children and ball games away from barbecues.
  • Only use barbecues in suitable and safe areas and never leave them unattended.
  • Ensure your barbecue is fully extinguished and cold before disposing of the contents
  • Don’t be tempted to let off sky lanterns

HWFRS Head of Prevention, Emma Roberts, said:

It’s wonderful that we have an extended weekend to celebrate this very special occasion, and many people will be holding street parties, firework shows, barbecues, picnics and get-togethers with family and friends.

“So we want to be sure that everyone stays safe, especially if they are planning to cook outside, have BBQs or street parties, or release fireworks or sky lanterns (also known as ‘Chinese lanterns’).

“If you’re heading off to the countryside, eg for a picnic or to go camping, don’t be tempted to light a fire – they can get out of control in just seconds and spread fast, especially when the grass is very dry. But if a fire does get out of hand, move away fast, dial 999 and call the Fire and Rescue Service at once, before it spreads.

“If you’re celebrating with fireworks, we would encourage people to go to organized fireworks displays rather than let off your own. See council websites and local press for details.”

Emma urged people to take note of the Service’s barbecue safety advice:

  • never light a barbecue near the house, garage, fence or trees
  • never use petrol, paraffin or other flammable liquids to get your barbecue started – barbecue lighter fuel or firelighters are much safer
  • never leave a lit barbecue unattended and don’t have one indoors
  • follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues
  • keep your barbecue well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste
  • keep children and pets well away from the cooking area
  • after cooking, make sure it’s cool before moving it
  • empty ashes on to bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins – they’ll melt and could cause a fire!
  • enjoy yourself, but minimise alcohol if you’re in charge of the barbecue
  • always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies

She also reminded anyone planning to use fireworks to take special care:

“Fireworks can be dangerous if misused and we’d urge anyone planning to let off fireworks themselves to follow the same safety advice that we issue each November.

  • use only fireworks marked with British Standard Kitemark BS 7114
  • keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time
  • follow the instructions carefully when using them. Read them in daylight or by torchlight, never by a naked flame
  • light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  • keep naked flames, including cigarettes, well away from them
  • never go back to a firework once it is lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.

Emma added:

“If you’re going to be in charge of the cooking or the fireworks, avoid drinking alcohol and be sure to keep children and pets well away from both at all times.

“We also know that many street parties are being held for the Platinum Jubilee – we hope that the weather will be kind! If you’ve been granted permission for a road closure, please ensure that all emergency services can gain road access, both in and out, without delay.

“We suggest that you set up tables along one side of the road and not the middle. Please also ensure that you can move items – and people! – quickly if required.”

Emma also warned people to be considerate if using sky lanterns, which are a serious fire risk as you cannot know where they will land and who or what will be there, as well as being a danger to crops, vehicles, livestock and the environment.

“Finally”, said Emma, “there is a wealth of safety advice on our website at hwfire.org.uk/safety-and-advice/. Have a marvellous celebration!”

Further information, and guidance

When planning and enjoying celebrations, there is wealth can be found on council websites, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons Guide (see page 27 for the safety and legal aspects of entertaining entertaining at home or elsewhere), the official Government website at platinumjubilee.gov.uk and on royal.uk/platinum-jubilee-central-weekend .